Tenhi
Vare


4.5
superb

Review

by Brandon Nelson USER (17 Reviews)
April 24th, 2015 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A superb dark folk experience crafted by one of the genre’s most interesting bands.

A snowy canvas unfolds with splashing cymbals and droning flute tones in the opening moments of Tenhi’s 2002 opus, Väre. From its inception, the record’s heavy atmosphere stokes the imagination, guiding the listener on a meditative sojourn into chilly, leafless timberlands swathed in silvery brume. If their debut were a misty, spring morning and their later releases (Maaäet) an autumnal evening, then the Finnish collective’s sophomore full-length would embody the lonely, cold months in their discography. Despite the limitations such an analogy would imply, the band manages to explore a remarkable range of moods using their distinct brand of folk-flecked progressive music.

Like with Kauan and their 2000 ep Airut: Ciwi, the band employs a virtuosic use of space here. Minimalist structures reinforce the listener’s sense of solitude and the predominantly acoustic instrumentation, especially the string arrangements (“Suortuva”), emote a sadness that is nothing short of beautiful. Icy piano melodies wander the musical clearings between denser moments (eg, “Vastakaiun”) and guitars regularly appear in pairs and intertwine like birch roots (“Keväin”). Tyko Saarikko’s low baritone is distant throughout and often layered, giving his understated vocal performances a somewhat religious, chanting quality (“Kuolleesijokeen”).

The album’s more driving numbers, “Jäljen”, “Sutoi”, and “Katve”, serve to break the trance and lace more exotic hues throughVäre’s mournful complexion. Throbbing bass and jaw harp texture the run time of “Sutoi” and a didgeridoo forms the trunk of “Katve”, which groans beneath the force of howling flute and brisk acoustic strums. Album highlight “Jäljen” displays tinges of progressive rock with its heavy strings, jaunty rhythms and intricate percussion.

If a fault were to be found, it would be in the record’s length. Some listeners will find it challenging to endure 55-plus minutes of sparse, introverted melancholia. However, there is little fat to be trimmed as each passage feels essential, like the individual sinews of a large, ancient tapestry. The band seems content to take their time and give the utmost consideration to the way in which they choose to speak. So, as with anything worthwhile, patience pays.

While Tenhi’s style would later be perfected with 2006’s Maaäet, their second record remains an engrossing dark folk experience crafted by one of the genre’s most interesting bands.



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user ratings (58)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
bnelso55
April 23rd 2015


566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

http://tenhi.bandcamp.com/album/v-re

Trying to make sure all of their LPs at least have a review. Such a solid discog. Any feedback is much appreciated.

Underflow
April 23rd 2015


3239 Comments


Good work! I'm interested to hear your opinion of Saivo, since that's generally considered the weak link in his discography. I wasn't too attached to it myself.

bnelso55
April 23rd 2015


566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks! Really? I'll concede it's not their strongest work, its a bit overlong in some places. But I thought it had some terrific songs. Pojan kiiski, Sateen soutu, and Savoie come to mind. What do you feel makes it the weak link?

Underflow
April 23rd 2015


3239 Comments


Saivo seems relatively ponderous when compared to his other works, which kept me engaged for longer periods of time. It loses steam rather quickly compared to, say, Maeeet.

bnelso55
April 23rd 2015


566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can see that. It meanders more than Maaaet, which I think is probably their most cohesive album along with their debut. The spent so long putting Saivo together, maybe it's a little overcooked by comparison?

AaronIsCrunchy
April 24th 2015


1947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Absolutely fantastic review, you're doing God's work. After your review of Kertomuksia I went to listen to this one as well, and I really don't think the length is a problem - just seems to shoot by if I'm honest.

Digging: Embrace Of Thorns - Darkness Impenetrable

DungeonBoy
April 24th 2015


563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome review man. The words you use to describe it represent the atmosphere so well. Tenhi is one of the greatest bands ever. This album is somewhere between a 4.5 and 5.0 for me, but the 5 is reserved for Maaaet. Anyways, keep writing killer reviews.

zaruyache
April 24th 2015


9296 Comments


*adds this band to the big dumb spreadsheet of music-yet-to-listen*

emester
April 24th 2015


5950 Comments


Love Kauan and Maaaet, yet I've never heard this yet. Will make sure to check it out

Great review btw

Digging: Howls of Ebb - The Marrow Veil

bnelso55
April 24th 2015


566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear the review somewhat manages to capture the atmosphere of the record. For those who haven't heard it yet, I'd say it's definitely worth your time. Really I'd argue this band's whole discography is worth your time. Some tracks may be weaker than others, but they haven't written a "bad" song, in my opinion.

Thanntos
April 24th 2015


329 Comments


Maaaet would probably be in my top 5 all time favorite albums. This was really great as well, and I though Saivo was excellent but probably one of their weakest releases.

Digging: An Autumn For Crippled Children - The Long Goodbye

bnelso55
April 24th 2015


566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed Thanntos. Maaaet is definitely top 5 material. Do you have any top tracks from that record? For me, right now it has to be rannalta haettu. Tuulenkaato and sarastuskavija are some other favorites.

Vastakaiun or Vilja may be my top tracks from this album.

CK
April 24th 2015


6014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wonderful band

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
May 15th 2015


20758 Comments


another fantastic review man. i knew you reviewed this before, but hadn't had the chance to read it. wonderfal band indeed

Digging: The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies

bnelso55
May 18th 2015


566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers, Atari! Thanks for reading. What are your thoughts on this record? How do it feels it compares to their other releases?



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